British Gas to offer mobile phone billing

British Gas is set to launch a “paperless bill” initiative next year, which will encourage customers to pay their bills via mobile phones. The launch will be supported by a multi-million pound advertising campaign starring Ricky Tomlinson, created by Clemmow Hornby Inge.

The gas and electricity company is also planning to launch text message alerts asking for meter readings to avoid sending out estimated bills. A spokesman says: “It is about helping customers manage their utility bills when they are out and about. We do not want them to think about gas bills in their leisure time.”

The company launched its online billing last year. This service was supported by an ad campaign showing Tomlinson walking in the rain towards a cottage. The ad used the tagline “Doing the right thing”. Carat handles media planning and buying.

Earlier this year, the utility company launched a television campaign to publicise its home services, prompted by customer concerns about rogue traders. The ads talked about the issue of cowboy builders and rogue traders and attempted to build on the public’s trust in British Gas engineers (MW April 15).

British Gas adds that the popularity among customers for going paperless means that the company may review its printing and postage needs. It sends out about 80 million paper bills every year and is one of Royal Mail’s largest customers.

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